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Rule #5 of the Dating Jungle is Lost Puppy Syndrome—which is the opposite of the Knight and Shining Armor Rule. As human beings, many of us have an innate need to take care of other people. While this can be very great in certain situations, there are a lot of opportunities in trying to fulfill this need that can compromise a healthy relationship. If your relationships are starting to feel more like helping the needy than an equal and balanced relationship, you probably suffer from lost puppy syndrome (which is the need to always help someone).

While volunteering and donating clothes to Goodwill are great outlets for giving back and showing that you are a compassionate person, there is only so much room for charity in a relationship. It’s nice to feel needed; but no long term relationship can be built on the foundation of you being the provider for all of the other person’s needs. You do not need to be completely the same people, but some level of balance is necessary. For example, it will be helpful to find someone who is interested in exercising and traveling if those are two aspects of life that you consider priorities. Someone who is probably not best to start dating is a coach potato.

It is important to not date down. Find someone who is at the same point in their lives as you are who has similar interests. (Note: when it comes to dating outside of your age range, a good rule of thumb is to never go more than ten years older, or ten years younger). If you are a hard worker, don’t date someone who is going to rely on you to bring home all the money. That will take a huge toll on you after a while. Some differences are okay, and often make relationships exciting. But do not compromise certain parts of life that you love just because you want to make the person you are dating happy.

Tara Richter

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